New research provides benchmark for universities to assess IB students’ English fluency

Students who have completed the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma programme (DP) are equipped with the necessary English language skills required for admission to UK universities, found a new study.

The research, conducted by the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC), revealed that the programme’s English language courses impart students will all four key language skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening), along with comprehensive assessment.

Universities which teach in English usually require incoming foreign students to prove their English proficiency through exam qualifications such as the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR).


With these latest results, institutions can now use the course grades of students under the DP in place of commonly-used assessments.

According to the IB, many universities accept scores in DP language courses as evidence of language skills, adding that the research results now “enable universities to benchmark these requirements for the first time”.

It added that all of its DP courses have at least one grade that can be considered comparable to CEFR B2, the minimum level most commonly required for admissions by universities.


James Monk, Head of Diploma Programme Development at the International Baccalaureate, said: “This independent comparative study clearly demonstrates what we have believed for some time – students who are successful in their DP English course should not have to take further exams to prove their level of proficiency.”

“Our English courses equip students with language skills that far exceed the CEFR level most commonly required for university admission,” he added.

The CEFR is widely used in the development and referencing of language syllabi, qualifications, assessment and other learning materials, it is also used by universities to express English or other language proficiency requirements for admissions.

Image via Shutterstock

Liked this? Then you’ll love these…

International Baccalaureate students are better equipped to adapt to university

IB students out-perform in race for top UK university placements